CONSTRUCTING VOICE TIPS

 

for the writer
* Study writers who have a strong voice. "Never hesitate to imitate another writer. Imitation is an important part of the creative process for anyone learning an art or craft." (Zinsser 238) Find the best writers in a field that interests you and read their work aloud. Get their voice and taste into your ear. "You too will shed your imitative skins and become who you are supposed to become."

* Do frequent and regular freewriting exercises. Peter Elbow suggests, "Try to make up for all the writing you haven't done. Use writing for as many different tasks as you can. Keep a notebook or journal to explore thoughts for yourself." (Elbow 306)

* Write a lot without an audience. Try different tones and voices to discover what your inner self sounds like. "Fool around, jump from one mood or voice to another, mimic, play-act, dramatize, and exaggerate. Let your writing be outrageous. Practice relinquishing control." (Elbow 306)

* Direct all your efforts into experiencing or re-experiencing what you are writing about. Be there. See it. Participate in what you are writing about and let the words come out.

* Write about what is important to you. If it is important, you'll probably find the psychic energy you need to really connect with it or open yourself to it.

* Trust yourself and don't think too hard about what you want to do to the reader.

* Don't ask for too big an experience from your reader too soon.

* Learn to coach yourself, to give yourself pep talks as you write -- especially if you sense yourself losing contact with what you are trying to write about.

* Whenever you get feedback, always ask readers to point out the bits that actually made them see, hear, or experience something. Strive for this in a few paragraphs in your next writing without a grade and then gradually build yourself up.

* Omit clichés. Taste chooses words that have surprise, strength and precision. Ab Fab women love this!! Also, writing that will endure tends to consist of words that are short and strong; words that sedate are three, four, and five syllables.

* Say the sentence out loud before you write it. As Writing Tutor Todd Ferrante says, "By actually saying it aloud, they not only focus on their argument, but also create an original voice all their own." Writing Fellow Anne Bolton agrees. "Read your paper aloud," she says, "see if you would be bored to death or be passionate about reading the essay."

 

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